Cruising quietly through the English countryside, it’s comforting to know that this car’s only emissions could be watering the wayside weeds.
Oxygen from the front air vent reacts with hydrogen pumped from carbon-fibre tanks at the rear to generate electricity in the heart of this hydrogen fuel cell car.
The only by-product is water – which the car discharges from its tailpipe as it glides between green fields and bluebells.
“Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and anything that uses energy can be powered by it,” says Jon Hunt, Toyota UK’s alternative fuels marketing manager. “We think hydrogen offers the greatest future potential for decarbonising transport.”
Hunt is my companion as I test drive the Toyota Mirai – which means “future” in Japanese – along the roads of southern England. The car can cover around 480 kilometres (300 miles) on a full tank of 5 kg of hydrogen, which currently costs around £50 ($65) in the UK. That amount of fuel can be produced from 50 litres of water.